September 6th, 2012
08:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Gabby Giffords makes emotional appearance at DNC

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made an emotional return to the political stage Thursday night when she led the pledge of allegiance at the Democratic National Convention.

Giffords, who stepped down from Congress in January to focus on her recovery from a shooting that left her grievously wounded, walked out with good friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz by her side.

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Her appearance brought the capacity crowd at Time Warner Cable arena to their feet in an ovation that lasted more than a minute and spurred chants of "Gabby, Gabby!"

Many of those in the audience were visibly moved.

Giffords delivered the pledge in a clear strong voice, her left hand holding up her right hand – that side left weakened by the bullet wound to her brain – to her heart.

She left the stage blowing kisses to the crowd, again prompting another rousing ovation and chants of her name.

She was immediately greeted backstage by husband Mark Kelly, who gave her a hug and a kiss.

Kelly later told CNN that Giffords was "really pumped" to lead the pledge.

"She hasn't been around this kind of atmosphere for a long time," Kelly told "Erin Burnett OutFront," commenting on the energetic arena. "A lot of her friends are here. … (She was) really excited to do it."

Giffords was shot in January 2011 at a constituent meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed in the attack by Jared Lee Loughner, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Giffords was one of 12 wounded. Loughner pleaded guilty this month to the shooting.

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. T'sah From Virginia

    Gaby Giffords brought the TEARS – OMG – She looks great and I only hope she would have a full recovery... My heart goes out to her!!! GABY – U GO GIRL!!!

    Obama 2012 – The ONLY Trusted Way Forward!!

    September 6, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Sam

    WOW... That was inspiring...

    September 6, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    What courage Gabby has and how far she has come. Keep up the good work.
    @dean, you still think its funny?

    September 6, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. Erica Griffin

    Im so glad I was home in time to watch Gabby Giffords recite the pledge of allegiance at the DNC today. She's truly inspiring!! I'm so glad we did not lose such a wonderful woman that faithful day, if anything we gained an even stronger one! Go Gabby!!
    --Erica

    September 6, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. ohgran

    What a lovely, BRAVE lady! May you be blessed with every tomarrow better than yesterday. God bless you always, Gabby.

    September 6, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Sf

    She looks awesome!!! God bless her and her family!

    Obama 2012

    September 6, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. LiberalandProud

    I'm so very moved by Gabby's greatness. I need to borrow so more tears..........She is an American inspiration!

    September 6, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. cbreeze

    Gabby is nothing short of inspirational. What a beautiful woman. She brought tears to my eyes. I pray for her complete recovery. Stay strong Gabby!!!

    September 6, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. adrifter

    Anyone who was not inspired by Gabby Giffords today has a rock for a heart. I was moved to tears, and I'm a guy, not even an American and generally considered a cynical grouch. Gifford shows amazing courage and determination. I wish her nothing but the best as she continues to recover.

    September 6, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Frank - Florida

    Really? Obama needs to drag her out to get re-elected??????? SAD. VERY SAD!

    September 6, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. davecu

    GOD has blessed you Ms. Giffords.
    How inspirational you, your recovery and your husband have become.
    You do a heart good.

    September 6, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. br rite

    Kudos to Gabby for strength to move forward, I too was moved to tears and amazed at how God has moved in her life. Nothing short of a miracle and a true blessing. I plan to move FORWARD just like Gabby:-) Obama-Biden 2012

    September 6, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. Max in AZ

    It hurts my soul to see how badly Gabby was hurt and the others that were killed and injured. I place the blame of that shooting on a disturbed young man influenced by the hate filled messages of the GOP.
    @ Frank: You may be one. Your comment is sad, very sad.

    September 6, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    Frank – Florida

    Really? Obama needs to drag her out to get re-elected??????? SAD. VERY SAD!
    -----------------------------------

    What's wrong with you?

    September 6, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  15. 1nsite

    How disgusting to say Obama forced Giffords to do anything. She is in fact a democrat so is it surprising she wants to be there?

    September 6, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. edward mares

    Thank God our health care sysytem ( she voted agianst) was able to save her life.

    September 6, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  17. Catmandew

    Frank is right! Our country has become take care of government officals. If anyone belives they would have done all they did to save her for any normal tax payer they are crazy! Anyone else would have been let die bein in congress must be nice

    September 6, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  18. Home_in_NJ

    Democrat or Republican...who cares?? Proud American!! She was amazing. May she continue to be blessed in her recovery.

    September 6, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    @Frank – Florida: "Really? Obama needs to drag her out to get re-elected??????? SAD. VERY SAD!"

    You're truly pathetic, you typical Repub, you ...

    September 6, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. ObaWendon

    What a courageous woman! God Bless Her!

    September 6, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. john

    My God that was beautiful

    September 6, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  22. Gabby Gabby Hey!!!

    America's sweetheart. Just beautiful. Proof positive that you can't kill hope with a gun.

    September 6, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. pamela mox

    Kudos to Gabby Gifford. Great convention. Great speakers. President Obama nailed it!! In comparison it made the Republican convention seem negative and truly out of touch with regular Americans.

    September 6, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. DocHollywood

    It is people like Gabby Giffords who are my heros. People who have faced adversity that they neither asked for, nor deserved, and trimphed.

    September 7, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Go gabby,we love you and you will be back !!!!

    September 7, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
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